In an effort to honor clinicians and researchers at the Iowa City VA Health Care System (ICVAHCS), the Deputy Chief of Staff Victoria Sharp, MD, MBA directed the establishment of a trio of awards, bearing the name of her office. In each category, listed below, these winners “exemplify the best aspects of our mission.”
Sharp tasked a committee including Joel Kline, MD, which identified the three categories for the awards. Winners, it was decided, will receive a small honorarium and have their names entered on plaques. The categories are:
- Clinical Care and Service: To recognize healthcare providers who demonstrate outstanding clinical care of veteran patients at the ICVAHCS
- Teaching: To recognize excellence in medical education by health care providers at the ICVAHCS
- System Change and Innovation: To recognize the actions and projects of health care providers that have improved the care of ICVAHCS patients or improved the ability of staff to care for these patients
The committee solicited nominations from service line chiefs and the winners of the 2023 Chief of Staff Awards were chosen. Each winner is presented below along with their submitted nomination:
Dr. Broderick has provided outstanding clinical care as well as excelled in her administrative duties. She has grown our Hospice & Palliative Care program, including initiating the Concurrent Care as well as Palliative Plus. We are in the top 10 of all facilities for palliative care consult with high CAN scores, and the team continues to work with other providers to help them understand the role of Palliative Care.
Our composite score for Iowa City is comparable to much larger facilities in the VISN (VAHCS region) and this is all under the leadership of Dr. Broderick. She also continues to provide education on goals of care and continues to emphasize the importance of these discussions with our Veterans. She also focuses on what matters most to our Veterans and integrating a Whole Health approach. Dr. Broderick meets quarterly with over 20 hospices in eastern Iowa and western Illinois to address the issues that arise for Veterans in their care, including the complexity of concurrent care hospice. Iowa City VAHCS was the first VA in the nation to have membership in CAPC (Center to Advance Palliative Care), which providers over 30 courses in symptom management and communication.
We also provide ongoing support for hospitals to improve their palliative care services and this is again under the leadership of Dr. Broderick. She also worked with University of Iowa Health Care to approve the ICVAHCS as a site for the Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowship. Hopefully, soon these fellows will be rotating here at the VA and they will provide our Veterans with best-practices, evidence-based care. In addition, the Palliative Care team, under the direction of Dr. Broderick, participates in the training of Internal Medicine residents in principles of Palliative Care, such as anticipatory guidance about the Veteran’s disease, advance care planning, and identifying what matters most. She also has an active teaching presence on the inpatient teaching teams to teach palliative care principles to medical students, sub interns and residents.
Dr. Broderick also works closely with our Nephrology service, and they are moving forward with seeing Veterans before the dialysis decision is made to address life-sustaining treatments and identify what matters most to them. She also meets weekly with the Oncology service to address the needs of palliative care, including those that are followed with concurrent care hospice. In addition, she also meets weekly with the heart failure clinic staff and the home telehealth nurses who are in touch almost daily with these highly vulnerable patients. The team has doubled inpatient consults from FY22 to FY23. These are just a few examples on how Dr. Broderick has enhanced the palliative care of our Veterans at the Iowa City VA Health Care System.
Dr. Berger is the medical director of the VA Intensive Care Unit and in that role he has extensive interactions with medical students, residents, and Pulmonary/Critical Care fellows. He is well known for creating a positive learning environment that allows the trainees to feel comfortable and engaged with the process of patient care. His hands-on and supportive approach to teaching on rounds is well received from the trainees. He also incorporates data and evidence-based practice into his teaching and commonly shares key literature for later review and next day discussion. Selected comments from his recent evaluations state, “I admire Dr. Berger’s kindness and patience. He cares about his patients deeply and is always willing to go out of his way to help. He is approachable, supportive and takes time to teach and to provide feedback for fellows.” and “Love working with Dr Berger! He is a kind doctor and human being. He is comprehensive in his care. He likes to teach but also is open to learn from everybody.”
Dr. Gutierrez has implemented strong evidence-based practices to improve the management in recognition of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. She has garnered Office of Rural Health funding and implemented practice changes at the Tomah, Wisconsin, VA facility that have resulted in major improvements in Veteran care and reductions of inappropriate benzodiazepine prescribing. She also has begun to systematically educate providers in other local rural facilities on the management of alcohol withdrawal. She continues to demonstrate and lead physicians and health systems on the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion. Her efforts have been most recently acknowledged, as she has now taken over as Vice Chair of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Iowa.